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Richard's Iron-Roasted Hen

Medieval European, American

This memorable dish was said to be Richard Lionheart’s favorite since childhood; it was also his downfall. Legend is that Richard, crusader in hiding, was captured and sent to a ransomer dungeon by giving himself away insisting on having roasted chicken made to his nurse-maid Hodierna’s recipe. The skin of this chicken is so crispy, and the meat so succulent, it needs little adornment other than salt and pepper. The long red Rossa-Lunga onions superbly caramelize. Everything is roasted in a cast-iron pan. Invite guests to dredge green beans or other vegetables through the caramelized onion juices of the pan. As with most foods, the better the quality of the ingredients, the better the results. Use a good, naturally raised, minimally processed chicken.
Ingredients
1 chicken, about 4 pounds
8 rosa lunga (torpedo) onions, skin left on (can substitute shallots, cipollini onions)
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 teaspoon just-ground pepper
8 drops balsamic vinegar
Steps
1 Preheat oven to 425°F. If you have convection capability, set it to roast at 400°F.

2 Using paper towels or clean kitchen towels, dry the chicken thoroughly, including inside the body cavity.

3 Sprinkle salt and pepper all over chicken, including back and sides.

4 Heat cast iron pan on stove-top.

5 Lay whole hen on sizzling pan. It will crisp up the back of the chicken. Immediately place pan with hen in center rack of oven.

6 Add onions after 15 minutes and rotate pan 180°. Roast for 40 minutes more.

7 Remove pan from oven. Dot onions with drops of Balsamic vinegar.

8 At the table, cut desired pieces for guests. Serve joints with an onion and dress with a spoon of pan juices.


Yield
servings  use metric
original recipe yield: 6 Servings
Notes You are looking at black gold. Above the chicken-leg are caramelized onions that combine with chicken juices to make an amazing sauce. If your chicken is much larger than 4 lbs, roast as directed above for the first 30 minutes, then reduce temperature by 25°. For every pound over 4 pounds, add 10 minutes to the initial 1 hour cooking time (example: a 5-pound chicken will take 70 minutes total cooking time.). Additional adornment is squeezing a fresh half-lemon and adding slices of the rest on top, half way into the roast.

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